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I've never been much of a car washing person but I recently picked up a Mazda 3 and I feel like I must keep it clean so I'm probably going to give the car its first cleaning soon.

What's everyone's car washing routine? Frequency/thoroughness?

I also need to put together a "newbies kit" of car cleaning stuff. I took a trip to my local store and was overwhelmed by the number of products available for car washing/detailing/waxing. Right now all I've got is a bottle of armor all's wash and wax. I'd like to buy a few products to be able to give my car interior and exterior a good wash. Any particular brands or products you guys would suggest me to have in my new wash kit?

Thx all
 

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Celest Zoom-Zoom
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What color is your 3? First off i wax mine with mothers wax once every two months. I then use this stuff from turtle wax. Its a black detailer. Basically it hepls keep the swirl marks out of the paint untill my next coat of wax. On a daily basis i just use a wet and dry microfiber rag and just quicly wash it off. Most all the brands will do the same thing but everyone has a product they like better. I persoanlly like mothers products but everyone has their own opinion.
 

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Zoom-Zoom To Da Crib.
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How do people get swirl marks? I wax my Copper Red Mica 3 all the time but I don't get any swirl marks. I wash my 3 every week or two if possible, always has wax on it and it really just depends on the weather, if it was up to me and weather wasn't a factor it would be every week.
 

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How do people get swirl marks? I wax my Copper Red Mica 3 all the time but I don't get any swirl marks. I wash my 3 every week or two if possible, always has wax on it and it really just depends on the weather, if it was up to me and weather wasn't a factor it would be every week.
If you wax the car more than once every 2-3 months it eats the clear and there goes bye bye paint job wait if your waxing your car once a week your doing it WRONG
 

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When I'm feeling ambitious, I use the two bucket method:


Lather/foam/suds/whatever you call them are your best friend. Make sure you froth it up!
 

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I like meguiars products. I strongly recommend the gold class wash/shampoo. Amror all work fine though. Suds up really nice. Get the car wet then use a microfiber and dip it in the suds bucket and wash it then rinse the suds off the car. If you're ambitious you can have a 2nd bucket that you rinse off the microfiber in. Then I dry it with a legit leather chamois. If you want you can clay bar it now. Youtube how to do it. Its not hard. Just gotta keep it lubed up. As far as wax, I don't like the nxt tech wax. Stay away. I do like the ultimate wax though. Turle wax black box works really well for me too. Since the car is black. But it takes a while to do. For the interior just use a damp cloth. When you use armor all, it leaves spots on the windshield where it evaporates. If you have specific questions you can pm me.


Sent from that one app with the gay annoying signature
 

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Celest Zoom-Zoom
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I dont have a choice its extremely dusty were i live and as soon as you touch the car with a rag boom swirls. I owner my other car for two years and waxed it every two months and paint looked fantastic when i sold it.
 

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Yeah kentucky gets fuck tons of pollen and t scratches everything


Sent from that one app with the gay annoying signature
 

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If you wax the car more than once every 2-3 months it eats the clear and there goes bye bye paint job wait if your waxing your car once a week your doing it WRONG
No I wax it every 3 weeks, the wax i have Turtle Hard Shell doesn't last very long, is it wrong to do it every 3 weeks? Well the shine doesn't last so i don't think its holding up, it fades so...
 

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No I wax it every 3 weeks, the wax i have Turtle Hard Shell doesn't last very long, is it wrong to do it every 3 weeks? Well the shine doesn't last so i don't think its holding up, it fades so...
I use Blackfire Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection. Seems to be holding up. It's been about 2 months since I've waxed and it still beads. I expect it to last me through winter.
 

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I wash the car basically every weekend that's not raining. I find that if I wash the car often, then doesn't take very long each time.

As someone else illustrated, you should wash often and use the two-bucket method. One bucket contains the wash solution, while the other one goes towards rinsing the wash cloth. This is important because swirls and scratches occur most often when the wash cloths, mitts, or sponges get dirty. It's that dirt accumulating on the wash cloth that causes swirls and scratches, especially if you push hard.

My general routine for the weekly wash is simpler than it sounds:

- rinse with the hose (nozzle with wide stream) to loosen surface dirt and get top layer off

- prep two buckets, one with the wash solution and the other with plain water

- while the car's still wet, dunk a microfiber mitt into the wash solution and wash the car one section at a time, starting at the top of the car and moving down

- clean the mitt in the rinse bucket after washing each section

- rinse the wash solution off each section after washing each section

- ***IMPORTANT STEP*** before drying, take the nozzle off the hose, and do a final rinse with just the open hose and let the water stream sheet the water off of the car; this step will remove most of the water and cut down the amount of time and towels needed for drying

- I also use a shop-vac (set as a blower) to blast the water out of the cracks just before drying. This is especially useful with the mirrors, which accumulate a lot of water. Be careful if the car has not been washed in a while, because the dirty water coming out of the cracks can scratch the paint if you rub it using the drying towel. If it's dirty, just blot the water spots and use a detailing spray to finish off the wipe.

- using a waffleweave microfiber towel, I dry the car. Between the sheeting action with the hose and blowing with the shop-vac, I can actually dry the entire car using just that one towel.

With a new car, I'm not sure about the necessity of claying and polishing. Some detailing sites recommend using the claybar on a new car because a lot of embedded dirt can get into the paint during transport. I did my first clay bar treatment about 3 months after I bought my Mazda3 and the clay looked very clean afterwards. Claying though is useful for removing the old layer of wax (the dealer prep usually includes a layer of butter type wax, which looks glossy but does not last long) if you want to apply a clean and even coat of wax or sealant.

So far, I have stuck mostly with the Meguiars Ultimate line. The Ultimate Wax is actually a synthetic sealant and it seems to work well. The Ultimate Wax does not have much in the way of abrasives, so it is actually safe to use more often. I have also done a fuller surface prep using the Ultimate Polish (this is an abrasive, so you don't want to do this step too often).
 

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If you wax the car more than once every 2-3 months it eats the clear and there goes bye bye paint job wait if your waxing your car once a week your doing it WRONG
That's true if you're using a one-step cleaner/wax, which many over-the-counter products are. But, the waxes/sealants that are part of a multi-step system don't have a lot of cleaning abrasives, and are more for pure protection. Those would be okay to use more often without harming the clearcoat. Of course, those products also protect a lot longer than one week.

Mercedes>BMW said:
No I wax it every 3 weeks, the wax i have Turtle Hard Shell doesn't last very long, is it wrong to do it every 3 weeks? Well the shine doesn't last so i don't think its holding up, it fades so...
Turtle Wax Hard Shell contains abrasive cleaners, so you probably should not use it that often. If you wax regularly and the paint is in good shape, you might want to try something like Meguiars Ultimate Wax or Mother's California Gold Pure Carnauba. Those over-the-counter products are pure protection waxes/sealants without a lot of cleaners and will likely last longer than a few weeks. But, you will still want to use a polish periodically to deep clean the paint and properly prep it for waxing.
 

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What type of polish would you recommend? Thanks a lot
 

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What type of polish would you recommend? Thanks a lot
I've been using the Meguiars Ultimate line, and had pretty good results. The Ultimate Polish is a good product with some light abrasives that will correct minor defects. But, I have not yet gone beyond the basic over-the-counter stuff.

There are a LOT of products out there, and it can be confusing because products labeled as "waxes" will often contain abrasive cleaners (particularly those sold over-the-counter), while "polishes" run the gamut as some are pure polishes that will shine the surface and fill in the swirls, and others have abrasives that physically remove the swirls by abrading the paint.

The chart below ranks several products based on how aggressively they will cut into the paint. The Megiuars Ultimate Polish is basically the consumer version of their #205 Finishing Polish, which is a light abrasive. The products labeled as cleaners/glazes are the pure polishes that will simply remove the old wax, add some shine, and prep the surface for a fresh layer of wax/sealant without cutting into the paint. How aggressive a product you choose to use would obviously depend on the condition of the paint.

Autogeek Swirl Removers & Compounds Comparison Chart

Mercedes>BMW said:
How do people get swirl marks? I wax my Copper Red Mica 3 all the time but I don't get any swirl marks. I wash my 3 every week or two if possible, always has wax on it and it really just depends on the weather, if it was up to me and weather wasn't a factor it would be every week.
BTW, the swirl marks often originate from improper washing or taking the car to a commercial car wash. The key is really with the surface prep. You want to get the loose dirt off by washing and claying the car, so that the dirt isn't sitting around ready to scratch the paint when you rub with a wash cloth or wax applicator. If your paint feels rough to the touch, it doesn't need wax -- it needs to be clayed and then polished before the wax goes on. When people go straight to the waxing step without any surface prep, then that will ensure swirls since the wax applicator will be grinding all that loose dirt around the paint.

When you go to a local car wash or gas station wash tunnel, your car is getting cleaned by brushes and cloths still soaked with dirt from the previous cars. If you wash the car yourself regularly and wash it properly, then you're already well protected from swirls.
 
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ONR is and amazing product! I use it all the time and have about 3 gallons on hand. A good high quality clay bar and paint sealant and you will be good to go. Stay away from anything that has the word, turtle, nu finish or armol all. Go to Autogeek.net and see what they have. Great stuff at affordable prices.
 

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If you wax the car more than once every 2-3 months it eats the clear and there goes bye bye paint job wait if your waxing your car once a week your doing it WRONG
Even cleaner waxes won't really wear out your clear coat. Mild polishes only take off a microscopic ammount of material. One would have to hit hit their car for a decade or more with heavy cutting polishes before you would eat away all of the clear coat. Of course, one bad afternoon with a rotary buffer will do it too if you don't know what your doing, but that isn't the wax's fault.

A normal wax lays on top of the clear coat. You can layer it up all you want. The downside will be finish starting to look hazy with all that wax on there. It needs to be stripped away with a clay bar every so often.
 

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Lots of great advice on what products to use at what phase in the process and techniques to prevent swirl marks.

Rather than using two buckets, I just hose off the wash mit after each body pannel. It probably works just as well in keeping grit off of the wash mit. I also wash and rinse a pannel at a time to ensure I don't get soap drying on the car while I work myway around.

You don't have to get cosmic with the products. Dunston gave good advice if you can swing it finiacally. If you are careful, you can find some pretty decent stuff at your local auto parts store. The McGuire's Gold Class car shampoo is a good soap; Mothers and McGuires make decent clay bars that often come in a kit with quick detailer; any of the McGuires pro series in the beige bottles are good polishes (go mild) and waxes. I've also found that the McGuires interior detailer isn't bad.

Am I a spokesperson for McGuires? No. I like other products/brands better, but if you are on a budget or need something fast, with a little careful shoping you can find decent stuff out there.

Dunston is spot on about avoiding Turtle and Armor-All. I'd add Blue Coral, Eagle One, and most no-name/store brands too. They don't work that well and you're better off spending a little bit more for something else.

Amazon has a pretty good selection of car care products. I'd find the stuff you like at Auto Geek, but price compare at Amazon before pulling the trigger.
 

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I have never clayed, never polished (not saying this is a good thing), never seen any swirl marks, not even even on the big black bimmer I did (2001 740IL). Don't tell me I didn't look the car over many times because I have and always do. I've heard if you do layers of wax it won't matter because there is already a layer on it. Forgot to mention we never go through any car washes, I just do them at home.
 
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